Brush Creek could be considered a main artery of Kansas City, twisting and curving through the cityscape of various neighborhoods from its origin at the Blue River in Jackson County, Mo., to neighboring Johnson County, Kan.
The expansive 10.5-mile stretch of creek has been known for flooding throughout its history.
It was also known for a scandal involving Tom Pendergast, whose powerful political machine controlling the Jackson County Democratic Party in the 1930s used government money to fund his own businesses. One of those businesses was the Ready-Mixed Concrete Company, which paved Brush Creek through the Plaza area. However, Brush Creek may be more widely known for the rumor of Pendergast burying bodies under the concrete.
This myth was thoroughly squashed after city workers broke up the concrete in the 1980s for re-pavement, but the Creek still offers a historical presence.
It proves to be a wonderful and scenic path when visiting sites like the Kauffman Memorial Garden and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Brush Creek evokes a powerful presence, as seen best in the area just before the Plaza, reflecting the buildings in its rippling waters to create a distinct and peaceful sensation at Theis Park.
This summer marked the first annual Brush Creek Art Walk, a competition in which painters create outdoor observations of the Creek from different perspectives. They were judged in an exhibition at the UMKC Gallery of Art.
The walk along Brush Creek is most beautiful during fall. With the vibrant change of color and cool air, one can enjoy simple tree gazing and watch ducks swim around the Creek’s waters.
The Creek succeeds at escorting walkers, joggers and cyclists around the city, an ideal way to venture around without using a car.